The Houston Dynamo acquired defender Zarek Valentin in a trade with Nashville SC, both clubs announced today.
The Dynamo agreed to send goalkeeper Joe Willis to Nashville and could receive an additional $75,000 in 2021 Targeted Allocation Money based on performance incentives in 2020. Prior to trading Valentin to Houston, Nashville acquired the defender from Portland with their second pick in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft.
“We’re very pleased to add Zarek to our roster as we prepare for the 2020 season. He’s a player who has consistently performed well every time he’s competed against us,” said Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan. “We came into this offseason intent on strengthening our back line and getting younger across the roster. Adding Zarek helps address both of those goals. His ability to play right back and left back gives us added flexibility as we construct the team for next year, and his leadership and winning mentality will make him a great addition inside the locker room.”
A versatile defender, Valentin plays as both a right-back and left-back, giving newly appointed Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos options in the back line. The Pennsylvania native spent the last four seasons with the Timbers earning 84 starts in 92 caps and tallying a goal and an assist. The defender helped the Timbers reach the 2018 MLS Cup and qualify for the playoffs in 2019 for the third consecutive season. Valentin and Portland reached the Western Conference semifinals in 2017 and finished the regular season with the top seed after a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Decision Day, presented by AT&T.
Valentin was selected by Chivas USA with the fourth overall draft pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. The defender made his professional debut on March 19, 2011 in Chivas’s first game of the season and would finish with 25 appearances before moving to the Montreal Impact via the 2012 MLS Expansion Draft. The 28-year-old started 14 of 15 games, scoring one goal for the Impact. Valentin spent three years overseas when he joined Norwegian side FK Bodø/Glimt from 2013-2015, scoring two goals in 55 appearances.
Valentin brings international experience to the roster as a key member of the U-20 U.S. Men’s National Team from 2009-2011. The defender earned 31 caps with the U-20 team and two caps with the U-23 team.